This Nate Parker situation got me fucked up, yall.
That was basically my first FB – where I live – post of the day. For those that are not glued to a television nor the internet like I am, Nate Parker is an actor, who just made a highly anticipated film about Nat Turner, leader of the largest slave revolt in American history. I was born the moment that I heard this film was being made, cuz see, I aint one for 12 years a anyfucking thing…..that turn the other cheek, this life be over soon, heaven last always, oh my laaaaaaaawd lawd lawd lawd slave movie has been done to death and it takes a toll on me. Working where I work, I’ve learned to self-protect. I shut down when the latest story of a baby being shot or a grandmother being burned alive airs. I cant let that stuff in or I’d rarely do anything other than cry in a fetal position. But those are stories I have to be aware of because of the nature of my work – I have to be exposed to them. But asking me to pay $15 bucks to go see my people suffering – beaten, isolated, raped, tortured – NOT HAPPENING. So thank you Hollywood, but no thank you. But this IS gonna be different. This is a story of slaves not depending on the lord that was bestowed upon them, this is them taking matters into their own hands…and I got way more than $15 for that. I may even take a date or 5.
Then the story of an ugly ugly chapter in Nate’s history was revealed. It was always there for the world to see….he himself said he didn’t remove it from his Wiki page – the story of how he found/placed himself at the center of a rape case for which he was acquitted. A co-defendant was found guilty and served time. We, being the public and Nate, recently found out that the woman who was violated, tragically committed suicide, having never healed from the effects of the criminal case. This is a horrible situation and it raises hella questions. Do we still support? Do we boycott? Why is this not new information being publicized now? Is this because he’s married to a white woman? Why wasn’t his statement meatier? Why didnt he just admit guilt? Why didnt he say he was sorry? Why?
For me, it raised a different question……one that speaks to the original act, because the only thing that is certain in this case, is that no one is certain of what happened in this case, possibly not even the participants.
It is reported that Nate was acquitted in part due to the fact that he had a consensual relationship with the woman. I’m struggling to write this, so bear with me…understanding that this article contains possible triggers.
Acquaintance rape can be the most gray of gray areas.
As I sit and wrestle with my friends, my thoughts, my heart and my brain, I know that what I just typed is fact.
I sat with a room full of intelligent, accomplished women from all walks of life and economic levels – our one shared trait, our womanhood and the one thing that we could agree on was the fact that we all had been passively raped, for lack of ANY better term. That space where you are with someone, someone you may or may not know, alcohol or drugs could be involved, where things are getting heavy….and maybe you didn’t exactly want it to get heavy as he obviously does, but you are now hesitant and scared…..scared that if you stop, he wont like you anymore; he will get angry and leave; he wont talk to you anymore; and scariest of all, he wont stop and the passive rape becomes an actual one. So you just let it wash over you….
Strong and badass as I can be perceived to be, I didn’t come out the womb this way….it took years of me developing a coat of armor with which to defend myself against the world. And some of that armor developed as a result of being passively raped.
I have been passively raped.
Have you passively raped someone? Would you know if you did?
You don’t have to answer those questions obviously, but perhaps you should consider them. And PERHAPS, PERHAPS you should really consider them when you go about assigning guilt or innocence, and sentencing Mr. Parker by deciding whether or not to go see a film that marks an important point in our history at an important time in our history, based on what the 35 year old creator did at the age of 19.
It wont be the end of the world, if you choose not to see it or if you have your own personal reasons and experiences for being unable to support this film. I think we all have more pressing concerns on a macro and micro level.
To the survivors, I mean no offense, no trivialization of the most heinous thing that can happen to a woman. What happened to you is not your fault. It does not define you. And don’t you let it. If you need some help, help is available.
UPDATED: the following is a transcript of a phone call between Nate and his accuser. Shows just how gray this whole situation is.